Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, August 8, 2016

WES wastes wealth. Why?


A little cognitive dissonance must go along with a bureaucrat's attachment to a plan that is failing or is rejected by the people it is supposed to serve.  But, when all is said and done, clinging to a bad plan, even throwing MORE money and resources at it, assures the bureaucrat of his or her job security.  It also builds a comfortable power base within the organization that will defend bad ideas.

It's not their city, it's not their money,  
it's ours.  


By Wendell Cox, July 28, 2016  Newgeography.com
Portland Tribune columnist (see "My View: WES is a Mess: Time to Pull the Plug") Bill MacKenzie took the occasion of a Tri-Met (transit agency for the Oregon side of the Portland, OR-WA metropolitan area) approval to purchase two used Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDC) for the Wilsonville to Beaverton commuter rail line to call for its abandonment.  In addition to the $1.5 million purchase cost, $550,000 will be required for refurbishment.  When they are ready for service, they will surely be older than most Tri-Met employees, since the last Budd RDCs were built in the early 1960s.

He mocks the agency's general manager, Neil MacFarlane, who justified the purchase as necessary to accomodate future passenger growth: "Oh sure, plan for massive ridership growth,"  MacKenzie scoffs. He continues,  "In early 2009, TriMet predicted WES would have 2,400 daily riders its first year of operations and 3,000 by 2020.  In 2015, the line carried fewer than 1,900 riders each weekday, and its cost per boarding was more than four times that of buses (not counting capital costs)."

He concluded that: "Even if WES reaches 3,000 average daily boardings, operating costs per boarding ride will remain much higher than for buses and MAX. The fact is, WES is a train wreck. It’s time to shut it down."

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